The experience

So the original plan called for us to go to Fishmonger’s.  I had actually decided on a restaurant a decent time in advance and was pleased with myself.  I picked up Mina from Lolo’s early to take her to see Igor as I promised.  Dr. Mom was working and suggested it would be a nice if Mina and I had a father daughter night.  I hedged saying if the movie got out early, we’d go ahead and eat but I didn’t want to leave Benji with Grace’s parent that late either.  Mina was freaking out about going to “Lovehorns” in the car.  It just got worse when I told her I had know idea what she was talking about.  Luckily, the theater interrupted the subject.  As luck would have it, the movie got out pretty early and Mina said we should just eat across from the theater instead of Fishmonger’s.  Well there goes my plan.  But, I had seen Iravat, India’s Bistro, on occasion when driving by here, so Iravat it was.

Iravat India's Bistro

We pulled up and headed in.  It looked quite a bit fancier than expected.  I was expecting something low key.  I hoped this wasn’t turning into another Mignon experience as far as prices.  Luckily, after glancing at the menu, it wasn’t too bad.  We were served some ice-free, room temperature water.  For my experience, I’m fairly certain that’s an Asian/Latin American thing, so this was looking authentic at this point.  I quickly noticed the lack of a kid’s menu.  That could be a problem with Mina’s eating habits.  Luckily, they did have a Mango Lassi that I could order for Mina.  I opted for a Sweet Lassi.  I’d never tried one before.

Water, no ice

I browsed the menu when Mina asked, “When are we going to Lovehorns?”  Great, this again.  I soon realized she meant Love and War In Texas.  Don’t ask me how I finally figured that out.  I’m not sure I know. I told her we’d go try that soon.  Not even sure what made her think to want to go there.  I guess you’ll be reading a review of that soon.  I told her I’m sure we’d find something here she’d like.  I started to sweat a bit.  The waiter arrived with the Lassis and Mina was happy to see that.  She wasn’t pleased that hers had a blue umbrella while mine had a pink one.  She asked for the pink one.  I said sure and she switched them. Then she took the blue one back, too.  I guess I wouldn’t be needing a drink umbrella.

Mina want the pink umbrella

Mina wants my pink umbrella

I get the blue umbrella

I get her blue one

I end up without an unbrella

And then there were none

The waiter returned to take our order and I asked if I could do a small Tandoori Chicken for Mina.  The waiter suggested the Chicken Pakora appetizer.  I went for the suggestion and got the Chicken Tikka Masala Thali Dinner, extra spicy, for myself.  We discussed the movie while we waited on our food.  I was treated to several scene reenactments.  The chicken pakora arrived shortly along with some crisp flat bread and dips.  Mina bravely tried each the tamarind, mint, and what I believed was roasted red pepper dip.  She thought each was too spicy, of course.  The didn’t have any other dips for the pakora either.  That elicited a frown from Mina.  The pakora was served on a plate over a candle to keep it warm.  Mina asked what would happen if she blew it out.  I said we wouldn’t be blowing it out.  And she said, “No! What if it just blew out while I was talking near it?”, as she put her face near the candle in a vain attempt to get the candle to go out.

Chicken Pakora

Mina thought the pakora was “minty in the mouth”.  It did have some mint/herbs in the breading.  I was removing the breading for her when my meal arrived.  It looked very tasty with a variety of side dishes in little metal bowls.  Grace would enjoy the variety here.  I started eating and saw Mina with a mouthful of pakora and lassi.  Usually not a good sign when she is drinking with every bite.  A few bites later and she was still talking about “minty in the mouth”.  I told her she liked mints; the ones you get after dinner, anyhow.  She said, “But not like this.”  She laid on the bench and I asked her what was wrong.  She said her throat hurt and she was feeling sick to her stomach.  I had mercy and let her just have her lassi.  I tried to give her my kheer but she was done.  I finished up my meal…well didn’t quite finish.  I was stuffed so I called it quits.  We paid up and headed off to get Benji.

Chicken Tikka Masala

The food

The dipsThe food was quite tasty here.  Very authentic northern and southern Indian dishes.  The menu was extensive.  The tikka masala was creamy and delicious.  The Thalia dinner came with the curry of the day, sambar, dal curry, raita, rice, naan, and desert (kheer today).  For $3 more, it was well worth it.  All the side dishes complemented the main dish well and made the meal more authentic and fun.  Despite the “minty in the mouth”, the pakora was quite good.  Very tender.  The dip and crisp flatbread come like chips and salsa.  Its the sauces you typically see in Indian restaurant, but they were much thicker and had a bold flavor.  Quite good.  The lassis are excellent.  Loads of mango and yogurt flavor.  The also have a lunch buffet 7 days a week.

The kids

Now the bad news.  This place isn’t kid friendly.  Well it could be if your child likes bold flavors or ethnic foods.  Our firstborn does not.  I am pretty sure I could get Benji to eat the pakora.  He probably would have wanted to try the dips but those wouldn’t have gone down well.  If your child was older with a bigger appetite, they could probably do tandoori.  A mango lassi does not make for a well balanced meal. There are no child’s plates.  I found it strange they did not have at least a chicken nugget meal as most other Indian places I have been.  And no ketchup!

The service

The service was actually outstanding.  The waiter was attentive and attempted to guide me in a good direction for Mina, even if it didn’t work out.  He checked back often and they kept the room temperature water filled.

The rest

About that water:  I’ve had several experiences where Asian/Latin American friends and family being adamantly against cold water.  Rumor has it, it can give you a cold or other illness.  Most notable was when I travelled alone to Chile with Mina for our good friend Kurt and Sole’s wedding.  Mina was a flower girl and Grace was too pregnant with Benji to travel.  Mina couldn’t stand the room temperature water, but Sole’s mom and others were adamant that we couldn’t refrigerate it.  I tried several times to sneak a bottle of water in the refrigerator before bed so I could get her some cold water in the morning, only to find it had been removed each and every morning.  And forget about making ice with tap water in Chile.  Mina didn’t drink any water tonight, so apparently she still doesn’t like warm water.

I don’t have much else to add except that this review is a bit of a conundrum.  The food was definitely above average but the kid friendliness was definitely below.  Seeing as this is, I am going to give them equal weight.  So that is how I arrived at 3 stars.  If you child is adventuresome or you find yourself without them one evening craving Indian food in East Plano, its definitely worth a visit.  Igor, by the way, gets 3 stars too.  If Dusty ever gets his movie blog going, I’ll point you to a review.

Total Cost: $29.01

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